The squeaky wheel always gets the grease but if I were you I'd save my grease because the squeaky wheel is only a symptom of what really ails your business. While you're treating the symptom the underlying problem is not getting better. A little grease may quiet the wheel but it won't repair the faulty bearings within.
The next time you're faced with a business challenge ask yourself this- have I seen this before? If you answered yes you either ignored it the last time or you didn't fix it properly.
You say you aren't the ignoring type? Well then perhaps that squeaky wheel is distracting you from the real problem. It's no surprise; we see what's plainly in front of us and act accordingly. Cash balance is down, increase sales and/or reduce expenses. Customer retention is off, do a survey. You get it, we all do and unless we take action we'll do it again and again, that is until our business is no longer viable. The key is to understand, to diagnose, what's really wrong.
Take for example the customer retention matter. At the surface what seems important is not to lose any more customers. A survey can provide information about the customers we have but nothing about the ones we lost. A survey of current and past customers will provide better information but it's but one step in the process of diagnosing the problem.
How about your sales and customer service staff? Are they equipped with the necessary information, tools support and talent to effectively manage customer questions and concerns? Do you produce great products and then leave the front-line staff with the expectation that they must make it sell at any cost? Do you assume the products are so good that this is not a challenge at all?
The further you look the closer you get to the underlying cause of that squeaky wheel. It's not always an easy task but it's always worthwhile because when you identify the underlying ailment you are then able to treat it and prevent it from causing further damage to your business.
The next time you encounter a squeaky wheel get out your tools and start exploring. Leave the grease pot behind until your ready to put on the finishing touches.